George R.R. Martin Celebrates GAME OF THRONES' 20th Anniversary with a New Book — But Not The One We've Been Waiting For

A few years into watching HBO's Game of Thrones, I went back and read all of author George R.R. Martin's novels in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, which serve as the inspiration for the massively successful fantasy show. The last two books were a little underwhelming, but the first three were wonderful, and the third ranks among the favorite books I've ever read (it's the best of the bunch by far, containing The Red Wedding, The Purple Wedding, The Mountain vs. The Viper, and much more). It's staggering to think that this whole thing started way back in 1996, but early this morning, Martin made an announcement on his blog about a new book coming out this year to celebrate the series' 20th anniversary — and no, it's not The Winds of Winter (yet).

It has been a helluva twenty years, twenty years that have transformed my life and career, twenty years during which the novel has never been out of print. And something like that has to be commemorated. So... well, let me quote the official announcement from my friends at Bantam Spectra.

"First published on August 1st, 1996, A Game of Thrones marks its twentieth anniversary today. In celebration of the fantasy masterpiece that started a cultural phenomenon, we’re excited to announce the publication of a special illustrated edition."
An anniversary like this requires something special, something more than just a reprint and a new novel. This new edition will be very special, I think. Same story, of course. But we've added an introduction by the World Famous Nebula Toastmaster John Hodgman... and a truly astonishing amount of artwork... a total of seventy-three (73) black and white interior illustrations, and eight (8) spectacular full color plates. Some of the artwork is drawn from the Ice & Fire calendars, from The World of Ice and Fire, and from the card and board games and RPGs... but forty-eight (48) of these pieces are completely new, never-before-seen artwork. Bantam says, "With gorgeous full-page illustrations to open every chapter, the mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure of this magnificent saga come to life as never before."

Martin says he's "still working on" The Winds of Winter, but he did share a couple of the illustrations that will appear in the new illustrated version of A Game of Thrones:

The new book hits shelves on October 18, 2016. If you're interested, you can read Martin's whole blog post here.

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